Kerry Lee: Mares' Chase on Happy Diva's radar

Happy Diva was a thrilling winner of the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Happy Diva was a thrilling winner of the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Trainer Kerry Lee has revealed that the new Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival will be on Happy Diva's radar next term, as she begins to start planning for the new Jumps season...

The nine-year-old mare enjoyed a stellar campaign for her trainer, winning the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in the autumn, before returning to the Cotswolds to finish a fine second to Simply The Betts in the Festival Plate in March, a performance with which Lee was particularly proud of.

She said: “It was a career best effort, even the handicapper said it was a career best, so we’re happy to up a few pounds for that one. She was amazing, producing a fantastic run under a fantastic ride by Richard Patrick.

"It was immensely frustrating to get chinned again, but we had no complaints whatsoever in that respect, and I was very proud to be at the Festival. With a string of 20 or so horses, to be up there competing on the big stage is a very proud moment for me."

Lee added that the new Grade 2 Mares' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival will almost certainly be on Happy Diva's radar next term, though she is under no illusions that the mares' division is one that's strengthening with each passing year;

"It was immensely frustrating actually when it was announced that it wouldn’t be run until 2021, I had hoped for it this year, but that’s just how it is," she said.

"She’ll definitely be looking towards that, but there are going to be an abundance of decent mares next term; I’ve been keeping my eye across the novice hurdling and novice chasing divisions, and there are an abundance of very good mares coming through - so we may find that we stay handicapping.

"At the moment though, it’s impossible to make any plans as we just don’t have any form of calendar or idea of when we’ll be back in action."

Meanwhile, Happy Diva will be kept in training for as long as she maintains her enthusiasm for the sport - something which Lee insists her mare still has in abundance;

"She’ll certainly stay in training until she starts to not show her best, and then she’ll be going to the breeding sheds for a career as a broodmare. I think the way she ran at the Festival shows she’s got every ounce of enthusiasm she’s ever had, and possibly a little bit more, you never know!

"She’s well-bred herself by King’s Theatre out of a prolific winning mare called Megan’s Joy, so it will be fun to train some mini Divas in the future.

"In the meantime, though, she will be spending her summer holidays with Financier in North Herefordshire. He’s her number one chap, and they’re very much a couple, but she definitely wears the trousers in that respect!"

Kerry was speaking to the first episode of the HorseRacing At Home Podcast, which you can listen to below. 

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